Born on July 15 1945 Norman Reid’s heart and soul was at Aberdeen Harbour.
Looking out over Greyhope Bay then, is the perfect place for his memorial bench.
One of three children for Kiki and Norrie Reid he was born on James Street and went to school by the water as well. In time for secondary school he moved to Torry, enrolling at the academy.
A handyman in every sense of the word, there weren’t many skills that Norman didn’t have. He worked as a roofer for a time, could stand in as a joiner and would eventually put his painting skills to good use.
Falling in love
Norman met his wife Ella Bain in 1957. They married in 1980. They would go on to have four children and though they would live in England for several years, they returned to Kirkhill Place in Torry.
Initially a housewife, Ella would go on to support Norman in the family business he launched called Aberdeen Ship Painting. While Norman oversaw the practical elements of the harbour-based firm, Ella did the books.
This would eventually be relaunched as A and N Ship Painting and Cleaning, when Ella’s brother Alan began working with Norman, at the Crombie Road business.
After many years of health challenges, and eventually a cancer diagnosis, Norman passed away in January 2018.
Ella knew exactly where she should scatter his ashes.
John Ryan, Norman and Ella’s grandson, explained. “My granda lived and worked around Aberdeen Harbour most of his life, so we knew that his ashes had to be in the water there.
“However, one day my gran was walking up there and she said to me ‘there’s a lovely wee bench up there, right near where granda used to fish’.
“She was referring to the memorial bench with all the plaques on it. She asked me if it would be too cheeky to add a plaque on there for granda as well. So that’s what we did.”
Whenever she could, until her own death last year in November 2022, Ella would drive up, park the car and visit the bench.
“She just loved to sit there and chat away to him. It’s a special place,” added John.
The bench is doubly significant for John and his siblings.
For although they are some of Norman and Ella’s nine grandchildren, their other grandfather, Charlie Ryan is also memorialised on the same bench.
“I had forgotten until we started talking, that my other grandda Charlie Ryan, is also on the bench,” added John. “It’s a bit of a picture of what it’s like to come from Torry. Everyone connected, everyone together.”